Essential Oil Basics

Over the past few years, I have become increasingly more involved in using therapeutic-grade essential oils for myself and my family.  Recently, I have begun sharing them with my clients and friends, as they have become yet another tool in the Feeding Your Life toolbox.

Nature always seems to have the remedy for the imbalances we create as humans, and essential oils are a perfect example.  They can be used topically, internally or aromatically, but however you choose you use them, they are effective at finding the job they are needed to do.  Essential oils can do something that antibiotics cannot:  they can penetrate cells, where viruses hide.  With this cellular access, nature's most powerful antiviral oils can help to keep us healthy all year round.

Therapeutic-grade essential oils have become a staple of my medicine cabinet, for everything from sleep to stress to flu-flighting.  As they say, it is easier to stay well than to get well, and that is exactly why these oils perfectly complement a holistic healthy lifestyle.  The easiest way to add essential oils into your life is with a cool mist diffuser (I have one in every room, as well as in my office and in my husband's classroom), but you can also use the oils topically, on pulse points or soles of the feet, for example, in a carrier oil such as coconut, seabuckthorn, jojoba, almond, etc.  Some may be ingested, and those are the ones I love to cook with (check out my audio class, Cooking With Essential Oils, on the classes page on how to safely ingest high-quality oils).

Here are a few of my favorites and why I love them:

OnGuard/Protective Blend* is a blend of Wild Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary oils whose primary use is as an immune system support.  It can be used on a daily basis as a germ/virus/bacteria defense.  

Lemongrass supports healthy digestion, soothes aching muscles, and purifies and tones skin.  I just adore this scent and I use it as my perfume!  Luckily, it is one of the more inexpensive oils :)

Melaleuca is more commonly called “tea tree oil,” and has 90 different compounds and limitless applications.  It is renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating effect on the skin, promotes healthy immune function, and protects against environmental and seasonal threats.  I put a drop on our toothbrushes every week to kill bacteria that accumulate there.

Helichrysm is distilled from the flower cluster of an evergreen herb, and is one of the most precious and sought after essential oils.  It helps skin recover quickly, promotes healthy liver function and supports localized blood flow (I've been using it on my broken wrist!).  It is one of the great antiviral oils.

Lavender is widely used for its calming, balancing and relaxing qualities, soothes occasional skin irritations, helps skin recover quickly, and eases muscle tension in the head and neck.  Everyone in my family goes to sleep with a drop of lavender on our pillows at night.

Frankincense is perhaps the most precious of the ancient oils.  It helps build and maintain a healthy immune system, promotes cellular health, and reduces the appearance of scars, wrinkles and stretch marks.  I use it in a carrier oil (Seabuckthorn) that I use as a facial moisturizer every day.

Lemon is a super versatile oil that can be used in cooking, as a household cleaner (got the crayon off of my son's dresser!), purifier, and immune system support. 

Citrus Bliss/Invigorating Blend is a combination of citrus oils:  Wild Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Tangerine, Vanilla Bean Extract, Clementine and Bergamot.  It has uplifting and stress-reducing benefits, as well as cleansing and disinfecting properties.  I diffuse it in my kitchen for good-feeling vibes, and add it to a spray bottle with water to disinfect the countertop.

Black Pepper can be used as a flavoring in cooking (I often add it to dipping oils or salad dressings).  It has anti-inflammatory properties and can support the digestive system.

Rosemary* is one of my favorite flavors, and so I often use this essential oil in my cooking.  Rosemary stimulates memory and supports focus and attention span.  (Not for use with high blood pressure patients or by those with epilepsy).

*avoid these oils during pregnancy

If you are just starting oil with essential oils, I highly recommend the book or app Modern Essentials as a reference guide for safe and effective essential oil use.  Check out my audio class, Essential Oils 101, on the classes page, for a deeper look into these gifts of Mother Nature.  For more on high-quality therapeutic grade oils, click HERE.